The Philippine government under the Aquino administration is expected to earn around P18-M to 20-M from imposing a requirement, the Affidavit of Support (AoS), to all overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) dependents bound to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to a Filipino migrants’ rights group.
The AoS is a mere certification that an OFW dependent who will be entering UAE holding a visit visa has the support of his or her OFW relative working in the host country.
Only the PH embassy and/or consulate in the UAE is authorized to issue an AoS with a corresponding fee of 100 UAE dirhams (roughly equivalent to P1,200).
Migrante-Middle East (M-ME) regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona said based on his group calculation assuming that there are 15,000 OFWs dependents bound to UAE yearly, the PH govt. is extracting around P18-M from OFWs and their dependents for just a piece of paper.
Migrante-UAE and 11 other OFWs groups recently kicked off a campaign calling for the scrapping of the ‘Affidavit of Support’ (Aos), a requirement imposed by the PH diplomatic posts in abeyance to a regulation issued by the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID) requiring out-bound passengers mostly OFWs dependents holding ‘visit-visa only’ to present such requirement notarized by the PH posts in the UAE so that they may be allowed to proceed on their trip.
The 12 OFWs groups headed by Migrante-UAE, Gabriela-UAE, Samahang Kababayan, Lingkod OFW Light form, Pilipino Nationalistic Association UAE, Impok Kapuso, Kapamilya at Kaibigan, Alpha Phi Omega, Filipino Digerati Association, Overseas Filipino Civil Engineers Association, and the St. Mary’s Filipino Community Choir protested the imposition of AoS as it is clearly a form of state exaction, which was arbitrarily imposed by the PH government to the OFWs and their dependents.
On Tuesday, the OFWs groups launched an online petition campaign calling for the scrapping of the AoS.
Full text of the online petition can be viewed from this link http://www.petitiononline.com/aos0710a/petition.html
“The online petition is part of our month-long campaign activities against the AoS requirement. We are determined to gather thousands of signatures,” said Nhel Morona, Migrante-UAE secretary-general.
A copy of the petition and signatures will be sent to President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, Department of Justice, the Philippine Congress, and the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID) through Migrante International in the Philippines.
Monterona said he endorses the online petition to all Migrante chapters’, members and officers in the Middle East and urge friendly OFWs organizations to sign in the online petition.
“This fight (the scrapping of AoS) is not an exclusive fight of our fellow OFWs in the United Arab Emirates. The PH govt. through the BID could arbitrarily impose the same requirements to OFW relatives visiting their loved ones in other countries,” Monterona added.
Monterona calls on Vice President Jejomar Binay, also presidential adviser on OFWs concerns, to look into this and call the attention of the BID. “We urge VP Binay to arrange for the review of this AoS requirement and eventually scrap this anti-OFW dependents requirement,” he added.
“The arbitrary imposition of the AoS is another proof of the Aquino govt. insensitivity on the deplorable plight of OFWs and their dependents who are already overburdened by govt. left and right fees impositions and other forms of exactions sans protection and measly social and welfare programs for them,” Monterona ended. # # #
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator